Review Summary: Falling in Reverse (unsurprisingly) fail to cater to the hopes of Dying is Your Latest Fashion fans..
This album in not the Dying is Your Latest Fashion part 2 I had been hoping for but instead the world has received an album similar (maybe worse) than Escape the Fate’s This War is Ours except with Ronnie’s vocals. The band, especially Ronnie, just seem to be trying to hard and the outcome is an album that just sounds very forced and unnatural. Their obvious attempt at making it a ‘fun’ album as opposed to being more serious really holds the album back. The most annoying part of the album is all the revenge on Escape the Fate Ronnie tries to throw in. I could understand a song or two dedicated to his revenge on them, he has been in jail for a few years. But I feel like every song has at least one stab at his former band (and no, none of these stabs are clever or subtle). The album does have a few redeeming songs but is overall a poor effort from a vocalist I once thought was amazing.
I will begin with the shining moments and redeeming qualities of this album. The album begins with the band’s first released song, Raised by Wolves. Although an ETF revenge song with lyrics like ‘this war is mine’ and ‘my fate is something I can’t escape’, the song itself is great and is one of the strongest on the album. One reason this song works so well is the solid song structure with its pre-chorus and opening. This is one thing Ronnie has always been successful at in the past and on some occasions he was able to pull it off on this album. The first single from the album is the title track and it seems to be the ‘situations’ of this album. A very poppy song, but it works because it is catchy, pleasant and shows off Ronnie’s voice. Sink or Swim shows Ronnie and the rest of the bands ability to mix heaviness with pop and still create a well-crafted song. Goodbye graceful is one of two “heavy” songs on the album and does a good job blending together its screamed verses with its soaring chorus. The track also has guitar soloing at the end with Ronnie screaming the same verse twice over it which would have made a terrific album closure (had they put this song as the final song on the album). Goodbye Graceful is my personal favorite on the album because it reminds me of songs like There’s No Sympathy and The Guillotine by Escape the Fate and really that is all anyone really wanted from this album, a return to form.
Now we shall discuss parts of the album that really sink it. The first sign of this perilous turn in the album comes right after their strong opening track in the form of Tragic Magic. It’s not that the song is terrible (well it’s definitely not good). The real issue is that with this song you realize this album is going to be all about Ronnie. Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie. In this song Ronnie has the arrogance to crown himself ‘king of the music scene’ while singing ‘la la lalala’ in the background. This cockiness really begins to show throughout the album and although he has a great voice, it is clear he loves it more than anyone else ever could. This begins to hurt the albums sincerity and gets really annoying. Songs like I’m Not a Vampire and the god-awful Good Girls Bad Guys lack a serious enough tone to even be taken seriously. The problem is you can see through the bands disguise of being a ‘fun’ band and it is clear that they are trying way too hard to be fun. It really is a shame that some of these songs turned out that way. Good Girls Bad Guys could have been a strong cohesive song. Over a year ago, while Ronnie was still in jail, ‘From Behind These Walls’ (Falling in Reverse’s former name) had a live show over the Internet without Ronnie and played a song titled ‘Red Alert’ which contains a verse exactly the same as the first one in Good Girls Bad Guys. Red Alert was actually a catchy and impressive song, untouched by production and an attempt at being a fun pop song.
Another awful song is the (uninspired) carnival inspired Caught Like a Fly. I feel as if Ronnie was trying to make fun of Escape the Fate’s ‘It’s Just Me’ off of This War is Ours. Somehow Ronnie managed to create a song even more terrible. The only other heavy song on the album besides Goodbye Graceful, Don’t Mess with Ouija Boards, is an obvious and cheap copy of The Guillotine by Escape The Fate. The opening, the sing and scream choruses, the guitar solo and the heavy, repetitive ending are all akin to The Guillotine except Ouija Boards just sounds cheap and forced. The final song on the album, The Westerner, is in a sense ‘The Day I Left the Womb’ part 2… except this time Ronnie brags his ass off that he is the best singer in the music industry and sings ‘do do do do do do dodo babapada’. You may have noticed that throughout the course of this whole review I have not talked at all about the instrumentals. This is due to the fact that although they are decent and have their very occasional moments, they are for the most part forgettable. Sprinkled throughout the album there are several of Jacky’s guitar solos. While the solos are good they are also predictable and a little too produced. The bass goes by for most of the time unnoticed but has some fun lines in songs like the title track. I hate to continually compare this album to Escape the Fate but it is something that must be done. The instrumentals of this album lack something special that could be found in DiYLF. They sound a little too forced and not surprisingly feel as if they are only there so that Ronnie has something to sing over.
It is great to hear Ronnie’s voice again but I wish he had taken a more serious approach, dropped his ego and focused a little less on taking unintelligible stabs at Escape the Fate. It is hard to see that after 5 years of anticipation this is what Ronnie developed. I should have seen this coming from a mile away but I had hope that Ronnie could pull it off. Enjoy the few redeeming songs of this album but go into it understanding that you will be listening to some disappointing work.